Google Updates Android's Language Translation App

Hola! That's about the extent of our Spanish knowledge, but now when we have an Android phone in-hand and a live data connection. The Google Translate app has been assisting users to translate text and websites for quite some time now, but there's always room for improvement. And Google understands that. This week, the company rolled out the newest version of the Google Translate app, officially called Translate for Android, giving it numerous updates that Google hopes will make it easier to interact with.

Among other improvements, Google has created better dropdown boxes to help select the languages you want to translate from and into, an improved input box, and cleaner icons and layout. There's also a new experimental feature (Conversation Mode) that's still very early in its development process. It's a new interface within Google Translate that's optimized to allow you to communicate fluidly with a nearby person in another language. This has actually been teased by the company before, but now it's out for every Android user to try.

For now, Conversation Mode will only work between English and Spanish, but we feel sure that more languages will be added in due time. In conversation mode, simply press the microphone for your language and start speaking. Google Translate will translate your speech and read the translation out loud. Your conversation partner can then respond in their language, and you’ll hear the translation spoken back to you. Because this technology is still in alpha, factors like regional accents, background noise or rapid speech may make it difficult to understand what you’re saying. Even with these caveats, we’re excited about the future promise of this technology to be able to help people connect across languages.

Translate supports 53 languages, from Afrikaans to Yiddish, and voice input for 15 languages. The new app is available now in the Android Market for devices with Android 2.1 or higher, and of course, it's free to download.